Parent Syllabus Form

Biology Class Syllabus

Papillion La-Vista South High School

Course Description:
Biology and the History of Life is a redesigned course that will take us from the beginnings of the universe,our solar system and planet, to the formation of the smallest building blocks of life, through biological evolution and biological classification.  Topics to be covered include:  The Scientific Method, Ecology, Cells, Genetics and Heredity, Evolution, Biological Classification, and Animal Behavior.

General Information:
Mr. Jerrid Johansen
Room 2238/E10
School Phone:  (402) 829-4600

Email is the best method of contact and responses will be sent in a timely manner.  

From August - October, I am available for assistance BEFORE SCHOOL ONLY because cross country is after school. 
From November - February, I am available for assistance AFTER SCHOOL ONLY because basketball is before school.
From March - May, I am available for assistance BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL.

Miller and Levine Biology published by Pearson 2010

A note about our textbooks:  The books were brand new last year and survived there first year in students' hands reasonably well.  Students will be expected to take the utmost care of them.  BECAUSE OF THIS THE BOOKS MUST BE COVERED WITH A BROWN PAPER BAG OR ANOTHER HEAVY PAPER.  STRETCHY NYLON BOOK COVERS ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.  The check-in process will be tedious at the end of the year and fines for textbook damage will be readily given.

If you are afraid that you might damage your textbook, arrangements can be made.  Please discuss with me outside of class

Suggested Materials:  Please have by Monday, August 22nd
  • 3-ring binder:  A 2" binder will work well
  • Notebook paper:  8.5"x11" with clean edges
  • Notebook dividers:  Not necessary but will be useful
  • Pencil with a good eraser:  I do not care for pens
  • SIMPLE scientific calculator:  Not necessary but useful
  • USB Flash Drive:  You can buy a 1 GB flash drive for $5.00 at Target
  • Textbook
You will bring each of these items with you to class everyday and take them with you when you leave.  No questions asked.

Grades and Grading:
The Papillion-La Vista School District adopted a weighted grade policy for the 2011-2012 school year.  Under the new policy, a minimum of 70% of the grade will come from exams and tests, and 30% of the grade will come from homework, assignments, and reports.
  • General Biology will have the 70/30 ratio
  • Honors Biology will have an 80/20 ratio
Here is an example of how the grading system works.  Let's say a student earns 400/500 points on all of the tests during the semester, and earns 300/500 points on the assignments/homework.  Last year this student would have earned 700/1000 points, or a 70%.  This year the grade will be calculated differently. 


First take 400/500 and multiply by 0.70 to give you 0.56.  Then take 300/500 and multiply by 0.30 to give you 0.18.  Add 0.56 and 0.18 for a grade total of 0.74 or 74%. 

First take 400/500 and multiply by 0.80 to give you 0.64.  Then take 300/500 and multiply by 0.20 to give you 0.12.  Add 0.64 and 0.12 for a grade total of 0.76 or 76%. 

With this new grading policy it is evident that your successes or failings in Biology will depend on how well you prepare for the quizzes, tests, and exams.  At the same time, it is not possible to completely ignore the assignments/homework and achieve an "A" or "B".

The grading scale for biology will be the same as the one found in the student handbook.
  • 100-97:  A+
  •  96-90:   A
  •  89-87:   B+
  •  86-80:   B
  •  79-77:   C+
  •  76-70:   C
  •  69-60:   D
  •  59-00:   F

Rules and Regulations:

§  Guideline #1:  Be in your seat and working on the assigned bellwork when the tardy bell rings

§  Guideline #2:  Bring all of your books and materials to class and take them with you when you leave.

§  Guideline #3:  Listen to and follow directions the first time they are given. Ask for points of clarification after I have finished giving my directions

§  Guideline #4:  Treat each person in this room with respect and dignity.  This includes the property of each person and of the school.

§  Guideline #5:  Late or missing work will be docked 25% for each day it is not completed.  After the 4th day, detention will be assigned.

§  Guideline #6:  CELL PHONES and IPODS will be handled on a case by case basis and at my discretion.  Our school has a “Responsible and Acceptable Usage Policy for Cell Phones and Electronic Devices”.  Students are expected to adhere to the policy.  In this class, the use of personal technology items is allowed at teacher designated times for educational purposes, and we will utilize them as much as possible.  Usage at any other time will result in a discipline referral without warning.  Please utilize your time in passing periods and lunch to take care of these items.  Unless when specifically allowed, silence of these items is expected.  As a general rule, If I am talking or we are working in groups you will not be allowed to use your iPOD.  If however, you are working individually and I have given you permission, you can use your iPOD.  

Class Attendance:
Expect every minute of class time to be utilized. It will be much more difficult for you to learn if you are not in class each day.  Each time you miss class for any reason, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to find out what you missed and what can be done to make it up. 

In order to assist you I have created this website to keep you updated and on pace.  After an absence it is your responsibility to look at the website and see what was missed.  Additionally, you should also talk to a neighbor to see what you missed.  If you have further questions or concerns then you may talk to me at a time when I am not working with the class or with another student.  You are not allowed to ask me what you missed during the 5 minute passing period, nor are you allowed to ask me at the beginning of class.  I WILL NOT ADDRESS YOUR QUESTIONS UNTIL YOU HAVE LOOKED AT THE WEBSITE AND TALKED TO YOUR NEIGHBORS.

Tardy and truancy policies are per building policy.

Assessments will be given approximately once every other week and will have point values ranging from 30-50 points.
  At no point will I give you an unannounced “pop quiz.”  You will have the opportunity to “RETAKE” one quiz per semester and earn up to full credit on that quiz.  You must make the decision to retake a quiz within the week after you receive your grade.  In other words, as the end of the semester approaches and you realize you need a couple of points to receive a grade of “A”, you will not be able to decide at that point to retake a quiz from the first month of school.

Honors Course vs. General Course
The material covered in the honors course and general course will be approximately the same.  However, the depth at which we cover the material will be much more involved, and in much more detail.  In other words, we will go beyond the basics, cover more material, at a quicker pace in the honors section.

There are also additional requirements a student must complete in order to complete the honors section.  These include:
  1. Monthly online assignments (5 each semester) in addition to the material assigned in class.
  2. Semester-long projects to be completed entirely outside of class.
More information will be given on these topics as it becomes necessary.

My Expectations of You:

My teaching philosophy is guided by a fairly simple principle:  “Those who do the doing do the learning!!”  What does that mean?  It is my every intention to make you active participants in this class and organize it so you are the ones who are “doing the doing.”  If you are satisfied with sitting in your chair and having me feed you the “right information,” then this will not be the class for you.  If, however, you are genuinely interested in discovering what science is—with a little guidance and assistance from me—then we should have a great year together!

Lastly, I don’t ever want to hear one of my students say that they “just aren’t smart enough,” or “I am no good at science!”  If you are having problems understanding a certain concept, please ask questions because if you are having a problem, it’s a safe bet that another one of your classmates is having a similar issue.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to come in ask for help outside of class.  I will usually be available before and after school in room 2238.

Let's have a great year together! 

Parent Syllabus Form